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Photographing street vendor booths

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  #1  
Old 10-23-2010, 11:48 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Question Photographing street vendor booths

Today I went to a street fair in a small town here in California and among my casual snapshooting of crowd scenes and such took a quick photo of an interesting metal craft vendor booth from the center of the street. The vendor immediately held up a "No Photos" sign (which seemed to be on the back of a clipboard; I did not notice it and haven't reviewed my photo yet to see if it was visible on its own).

My cropping (wide) and intentions (the overall look of the booth was interesting; I don't care to reproduce his products) were not known to the defensive vendor, but it raises an important question:

Can such vendors request that no photos be taken of their booths in an obviously public place (on a closed-off downtown street)? The only caveat I can think of is they rented the space they occupy; otherwise there's nothing private about the openly visible location.

After this minor incident I noticed at least one other booth displaying such a sign. I did photograph my daughter looking at necklaces and such in various other booths and no one else said anything, even though I was much closer to the products in those cases. And I had my camera away from my face (perhaps even hanging unused on my shoulder) while walking past a photographer's booth and I could swear he was giving me the evil eye for no reason...

I'm tempted to post the photo so you can see what I'm talking about ;-).
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:25 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

I hope I don't ignite any wild debates, but my personal opinion is that the vendor was out of line. A "reasonable expectation of privacy" does not exist in a public venue. That is why celebrities can't stop photographers from photographing them in public. A vendor cannot tell a photographer that photography is prohibited unless you are in their home, business, or on/in their property. Of course, they can prevent you from setting up a portable mini-studio and taking macro photos of their goods or products. That would be different.

I take photos everywhere I go. If someone complains or is displeased for some reason, I just grin, tell them the photos are for editorial purposes, and walk away. I do however, ask permission before taking photos of someone when it is obvious I am doing so, just as a courtesy and in case I then want to ask for a model's release.

As for the other photographer giving you the eye, I think we all tend to do that to some degree. Most of us can't resist seeing what brand the other photog is carrying. I like guessing the dollar value of the equipment they are lugging around and comparing it with their apparent skill and confidence.

Todd
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Old 10-24-2010, 02:28 PM
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

Todd, thanks for your thoughtful reply!

Here is the photo of the vendor (face blurred just to be nice). I don't see any sign. Perhaps he is trying to dig it out from under other items? I only saw him holding it after I took the photo.

Here is another pic of a small "No Photos" sign as displayed in another booth (cropped from the corner of another photo; I saw at least one other handwritten sign I did not photograph), and a sample shot of the overall scene.

Ironically, the vendors who didn't want photos taken were displaying their interpretive artwork which was based on the earlier works of DaVinci (among others) and well-known photographs of celebrities (Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Mark Twain)...!

I think their whole "No Photos" point is to keep other from copying their artwork and style. So in order to protect their rights, they infringe on the rights of others (??).

Oh, and photo booth guy was probably either looking down on my non-DSLR, or perhaps he just had a bad burrito! I learned years ago that for the most part it doesn't matter what type of equipment one uses – it's the talent of the photographer that is important (and yes, I do realize more expensive cameras provide better technical image quality). For instance, I've been told I took better snapshots as a guest at a wedding than the official photog took.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg streetfair.jpg (93.6 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg nophotos.jpg (11.5 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg crowd.jpg (95.6 KB, 33 views)
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:39 PM
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

Here's an example of a "No photos" vendor selling artwork based on OTHER people's original images.
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File Type: jpg vendorbooth2.jpg (55.3 KB, 22 views)
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:33 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

Yes, exactly. People like this are just morons, in my humble opinion. Everything that has to do with the Beatles is protected by trademark and copyright so what he is doing is technically illegal. I'd like to walk right up to his booth and start snapping photos. The minute he said anything, I'd just tell him I was collecting legal evidence and see what his response would be.
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:40 PM
Kengel Kengel is offline
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

I agree - you can legally photograph anything and anyone that is a public place.

Check out this http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

As far as "show photographers" looking at you - unless you are carrying some serious pro gear it's highly unlikely they were looking at you because of anything related to photography. You might annoy them if you tried to take pictures of their photographs however. LOL
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:43 PM
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Re: Photographing street vendor booths

Nope, just passing by his photo tent and taking a look on the way. Maybe he just wasn't selling anything!
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